Friday, September 02, 2016

Homemade Beef Sausage and Meatballs

Last night hubby came back with three packets of minced beef. I just finished cooking dinner and was getting lazy to do anything after dinner but I don't want to freeze-thaw-refreeze the minced beef. So after dinner, I got down to business and decided to make beef sausages and meatballs.
In one of my posts earlier, I made chicken sausages using minced chicken. So this time the only difference is that I'm using minced beef. The ingredients are basically the same and I didn't measure the amount of ingredients used. The only difference is I added chopped onions into the beef mixture. 
This is how the sausages look like when I shaped them into sausages. Using the parchment paper made it so easy and this mixture doesn't stick to your hands so you can actually just roll and shape them even without the papers. However, they may stick together when you stack and steam them so it's best to use the parchment papers.
I steamed the sausages, just like I did with my chicken sausages. This is to ensure that the beef is thoroughly cooked so the next time you want to eat, you just have to pan fry them with a little oil to brown and crisp them.
Since the mixture is quite a lot (I think it came to almost a kilo of minced beef), I made some meatballs out of them as well. I don't want to turn all of them into sausages. For the meatballs, I did not steam them because I plan to cook them either with my spaghetti sauce or to be added into soups. So these meatballs went straight to the freezer. 
These are the sausages after they were steamed. I removed the parchment papers and let them cool before I freeze them. Clearly there are all kinds of shapes and sizes but who cares, right? This morning I fried a few pieces for my kids. I tried one piece and it is delicious. It's just like burger actually. I am pretty sure you can use the same mixture to make burger patties. 
So there you go. Your kids can have sausages everyday if they want to because these are homemade and most importantly, zero preservatives.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Homemade Apam Merekah

This recipe was taken from a video shared on where else but Facebook. There are so many recipes that I plan to try and last Saturday, I made these Apam Merekah as I had already bought the ingredients earlier.

In my case, I only have three colours available in my pantry i.e. purple, cochineal (deep red) and green. The green bottle in the picture above is actually pandan emulco or pandan flavouring. The good thing is it is in green colour so it's a 2 in 1 food colouring and pandan flavour in one bottle. I did not bother buying the other flavours/essence because the recipe calls for the use of 1/2tsp only and to buy a whole bottle seems like a waste, unless you use them a lot or bakes a lot.
After mixing all the ingredients, I separated the batter into three. Obviously I did not bother to measure the amount to get the same weight. Add your colouring and/or flavours accordingly to the batter and mix. As for the colours pink and purple, I leave them plain with no flavouring. Remember earlier you already put 1tsp of vanilla essence so that will be fine. Make sure you put just a teeny bit of the food colouring. Although the recipe calls for 1/2 tsp, I added only a few drops, probably 2-3 drops because I want the apam to turn out in lovely soft pastel hues. If you watch the video, the apam turned out very bright. I prefer them to be in a softer shade but hey, whatever rocks your boat!
I have some cupcake liners but I did not have the aluminium casings to put them in and my muffin tin could not fit my steamer so I simply used a small size cupcake souffle liner. I like to use this type of cupcake liner because they stand firm and does not need to be put in a muffin tin. By the way, while you are preparing the batter, you can start boiling the water for the steamer.
Make sure you cover the lid with a clean cloth/muslin so that water doesn't drip onto your apam while steaming. Steam the apam for 7 minutes and once the time is up, carefully transfer them onto a rack to cool.
Close up of the cooked apam. Don't they crack really nicely? And I just love how lovely the colours turn out. The green apam has a tinge of pandan flavour to it. My kids love these apam so this recipe is a keeper. They are really easy to make and can be done in less than 1/2 hour. I packed some to bring to the hospital to visit my niece and left some at home which my kids had on Sunday morning.
For ease of reference and in the event you are not able to click or view the video or have difficulty understanding the Malay language used in the video, I hereby list down the ingredients and the steps.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 250g flour (wheat flour/all-purpose flour)
  • 1tsp ovalett- you can easily buy this in the baking needs aisle in the supermarket
  • 175g or 1 cup soda water
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp pandan paste/essence
  • 1tsp yam paste/essence
  • 1tsp strawberry paste/essence
  • 1/2tsp green colouring
  • 1/2tsp red colouring
  • 1/2tsp purple colouring
  • 1/2tsp yellow colouring
METHOD:
  1. Beat eggs, sugar and ovalett until mixture turns pale white and fluffy.
  2. Add in flour alternate with soda water.
  3. Mix well and add vanilla essence.
  4. Once batter is ready, separate the batter according to your chosen colours/flavourings.
  5. Add your chosen colours/flavourings to each portion and mix.
  6. Pour in cupcake liners about 3/4 full so that you get the crack (merekah) effect.
  7. Steam for 7 minutes.

In case you are wondering, I used this soda water and that is how ovalett looks like.
Happy trying!
Credit goes to the owner of the recipe and the Facebook page for sharing the video.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Quick Homemade Pizza and Homemade Chicken Sausage

I made these this morning for the kids' snacktime in school. When I say quick, I really mean it is quick and easy and this can be done in the morning, no need to prepare beforehand, nothing much to prep really. 

I used Mission brand Pita Bread for the base, opened a can of Prego spaghetti sauce and slathered the pita bread with the sauce. I cut up some *homemade chicken sausages which I heated in the microwave for a while to thaw as they were taken out of the freezer. Earlier the sausages had been steamed before freezing. Simply cut some slice cheddar cheese and lay on top of the pizzas.

Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees celcius for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pita bread is warm through. Cool on a wiring rack, cut into slices and pack to school. So easy, right? The lonely sausage is also baked in the oven, just because. Babycakes had the sausage before going to school.

As for the sausages, some kind mummies on a Facebook group shared recipes on homemade sausages. We all know how bad sausages are but who doesn't love their sausages, right? I decided to jump into the 'homemade sausage' bandwagon and made my own chicken sausages last week. I used Ramly minced chicken as I don't have a food processor to mince my own chicken fillets/breasts. You can choose to mince your own chicken or get them from your grocer or you can always opt for the frozen ones like I did. Here is the recipe that I used for the homemade chicken sausage. Bear in mind that I did not have an exact measurement as the initial recipe which I followed didn't specify the exact measurements. Simply use your discretion or feel free to search for other recipes.

  • One packet 400g minced chicken (I used Ramly's)
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Dash of pepper (black or white is fine)
  • Italian mixed herbs (you can use other herbs you have)
  • Some olive oil
  • Some cornstarch
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it becomes a sticky paste. Cut up some parchment/baking paper and place the mixture and roll them up until they form a sausage. Chill them in the fridge for an hour or so. After they have firmed up and taken shape, steam the sausages for 10 minutes. I steamed the sausages with the parchment paper still attached. Remove parchment paper and pan fry until golden brown. 

Some people added blended shitake mushrooms to the mixture. I had some mozarella cheese so I cut them up in small cubes and added them to the mixture. You can also roll the mozarella cheese inside the sausage. I left the steamed sausages to cool before freezing them in ziplock bags. My kids approved the sausages so I plan to make a larger batch the next time. Now I won't mind if my kids ask for sausages to bring to school every other day. 



Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Still Love My Waffles

Remember in my earlier post, I was not happy with my Bayers 3 in 1 Waffle/Donut/Sandwich maker? I decided to return the item for a replacement the following week. Luckily there is a Mailboxes near my office so I get to drop my parcel there for free after filling up the relevant return form. Initially I thought of asking for a refund or a store credit but I only paid RM19 for the item because RM50 was from a voucher so it would be a waste. I had no choice but to ask for a replacement of the same item.
I dropped my parcel off on Monday and received the replacement item a few days later. 

Saturday morning came and it's a perfect time for waffles for breakfast. I was eager to test my new waffle maker. I used the exact same recipe that I used previously, just so that I can compare with my previous experience. Recipe: The Greatest Waffle Recipe Ever.
As you can clearly see from the pictures above, there was hardly any difference from my previous waffle-making experience. The picture above is the top part of the waffle, which hardly browned and hardly have the deep grids, unlike the bottom part. So frustrating. This time too takes a long time for the waffle to cook. And yes, I had to flip the waffle for the top part to cook. It is so frustrating.

Because of that, I got so fed up of waiting I ended up making mini pancakes or pikelets as some people call it, using the same batter. I simply poured small dollops of the batter onto my non-stick frying pan and voila! I managed to freeze a few pieces of these mini pancakes and a couple pieces of the waffles. I heated them in the microwave, slathered some good chocolate spread and sandwiched them together, cut them into little pieces and put a food pick so that it becomes no-mess-breakfast-on-the-go for Babycakes to eat in the car on the way to school.
Now that I have tried using the same recipe using two different waffle makers, I can't make a concrete conclusion just yet. It could also be that the recipe isn't working for me or the recipe doesn't work with my waffle maker. So next time I shall try a different recipe. I am not giving up on my love for waffles. And I am not gonna let the waffle maker go to waste! I shall search for another recipe and I will try them out.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Fool Proof Fudgy Brownies

Kids had a Hari Raya Celebration at their nursery last Friday so on Thursday evening, their babysitter informed me about the celebration and asked me to bring something for the celebration. The first thing that came to my mind was to bake a butter cake and I immediately wondered if I had all the ingredients in my pantry. That night after dinner, I checked my pantry and thought of baking lemon cupcakes because I have a few lemons in my fridge. However, I have a 225gm butter while the recipe calls for a 250g butter and it is such a hassle to halve the recipe. Then I remembered that one lady posted in one of the Facebook groups about this good brownies recipe so I googled for the recipe. I checked my pantry and thankfully I have all the ingredients in my pantry.
I do not have any walnuts in my pantry though so I simply sprinkled some chocolate chips on top of the brownie before baking it, just because.. I mean, who doesn't like extra chocolates, right? The recipe is so easy to follow, the ingredients are very minimal and after baking it, I can safely say that this recipe is definitely a keeper as it is fool-proof. Just make sure you follow the recipe thoroughly and you shouldn't go wrong. The recipe is aptly named The Best Homemade Brownie Mix. You see, when it says it is 'the best', I just have to try it to see if it lives up to its name. I simply used regular cooking oil because I was lazy to melt the butter and I don't have coconut oil or vegetable oil in my pantry. They worked fine and tasted just fine.
The house smells like heaven and after it was done baking, I let it cool overnight. The next morning, I simply cut the brownies into little squares and put each piece on a cupcake liner and then placed them in an airtight container for Hubby to send to the kids' nursery. Don't they look nice?
My kids were excited to see the brownies that morning. I managed to cut 24 little pieces and only tasted the crumbs which tasted really good. At the party, I managed to grab a slice and I was really happy with the brownies. I baked it in a 9" x 9" square tin so I have some of the mix left, which I stored in an airtight container. Since I didn't really get to eat the brownies, I baked two more brownies on Sunday morning but this time with walnuts- one for my sister who is taking care of her sick baby in the hospital and one for my sister in law's Hari Raya celebration at her house. This time, I saved a few pieces for us at home so I can indulge and enjoy my homemade brownies. This recipe has been pinned on my Pinterest board, saved in my Yummly account and a copy of the recipe has also been printed and pasted into my scrapbook. No more buying boxed brownie mix after this!

Friday, July 29, 2016

For The Love Of Waffles

My kids love waffles and I always buy Gardenia Delicia Waffles for them. It comes in a variety of flavours namely Fresh Egg Vanilla, Banana, Orange, Chocolate and Blueberry. However, not all shops or supermarkets sell all flavours. I notice that at 7-11 and Kedai Mesra Petronas, most of the time they carry Fresh Egg Vanilla flavour and occasionally Chocolate. But I can almost always find Blueberry, Orange and Banana flavours at Mynews.com. The waffles' sizes are perfect for breakfast-on-the-go and for snacktime but since they eat the waffles a few times a week, I figured that I might as well make my own waffles for them.
Recently I won a RM50 Lazada voucher from a contest I joined and since the voucher is expiring on 31 July 2016, I better utilize it. I used the voucher to purchase this Bayers 3 in 1 Sandwich, Waffle & Donut Maker. The sale price when I bought it was RM69.90 but today I checked and it's selling for RM79. The normal price for the item is RM199 so it is still worth it. However, the shipping charges was RM31.80! So expensive but since the voucher is expiring soon, I just went ahead and purchased it.
I ordered on Wednesday and the item arrived the very next day. Considering the very expensive shipping charges, I am beyond delighted. Very efficient delivery service, I must say. I was eager to test the item so after dinner that night, I opened the box and took out my shiny new gadget.
The good thing about this item is that not only it has multiple functions but the plates are interchangeable which makes cleaning them a breeze. You can detach the plates after using and simply wash them clean. Make sure you read the User's Manual for instructions and care.
Of course I had to go on Pinterest to search for a waffle recipe and this recipe caught my eyes simply because the name of the recipe is The Greatest Waffle Recipe Ever. The recipe is a bit tedious especially the part where you have to separate the eggs and beat the egg whites separately but trust me that this step is crucial as this is what makes the waffles fluffy and light, as per the recipe. Of course there are tons other waffles recipe so it is up to you to do a trial and error and see which recipe suits you best. The good thing about making your own waffles from scratch is that you know exactly what the ingredients are and there are absolutely zero preservatives so I won't mind my kids eating them every other day, if not everyday.

After you have prepared the batter, it is time to make the waffles! Make sure you wipe the plates dry before attaching it to the maker. I brushed some butter onto the plates and started pouring the batter when the waffle maker was hot. The manual said not to open the waffle maker within the first 1 1/2 minutes so I waited for a while. There are two lights, red and green and the lights will keep on turning on and off for the thermostat to adjust (just like how an iron works). Take note that when the green light is off, it doesn't mean that the waffle is ready. I did not bother to set and check the time though but after a few minutes, I opened the waffle maker to find that the top part is hardly brown, let alone cooked. I closed the waffle maker again and waited for a few more minutes.
Let's just say that the cooking time is much longer than I expected. I don't think waffles should take that long to cook! If I were to open a waffle kiosk, I would be losing customers LOL. OK yes the waffle maker works and it is not faulty but even though I am not the most patient person I know, waffles shouldn't take forever to cook. The plates didn't even sizzle when I poured the batter. What do you think? The top part of the waffles hardly brown so I even had to flip the waffle to make sure the top part cooks. That too, takes forever. Again, do take note that I did not time the cooking time but I can bet with you it takes more than 5 minutes.

With that batter, I managed to make 5 pieces (x2) waffles. We ate one piece that night, right after cooking. We slathered it with Hershey's chocolate spread and the kids love love love it. The waffle itself isn't sweet if you eat it plain but waffles are meant to be eaten with toppings, right? I froze 3 pieces in a ziplock bag and one piece was for the kids' breakfast the next day. For the ones in the freezer, next time I will just thaw them and either warm them in the microwave or bake them in the oven to brown them evenly.  

I have yet to use the donut and the sandwich plates but overall I am OK with the item. I won't say I am very happy with it but it works and maybe next time I will try with a different recipe. Who knows it may make a difference. With the price I paid, overall I rated this item as 3.5/5.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Homemade Raya Cookies

I was so ambitious this raya that I thought I want to make a few types of raya cookies. I saved recipes from Facebook, I saved recipes from Pinterest, I printed several recipes and bought the ingredients. However, sad to say I only manage to make one, I repeat, ONE type of raya cookies. And I'm not really proud of it. 
The good thing is, Babycakes helped me in making the cookies which she finds so interesting as the cookie dough feels like play doh to her. I followed the recipe religiously but the dough was quite soft that it was hard to roll them with a rolling pin. It was also hard to cut them into shapes but we managed eventually.
So these are my raya cookies. They are a mixture of star and heart shaped cookies and some were sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles which Babycakes find so much joy in doing so, some were added with chocolate chips, some were big, some were small. Rest assured that these cookies were made for personal consumption and I don't intend to serve them to any guests. LOL. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

From Teacher to Vet

Babycakes recently learned about occupations in school.
So the first time I asked her, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Her first answer was a teacher.
She said she wants to be just like her class teacher, Teacher Chandra. 
I told her good then so if you want to teach, make sure you learn and do your homework.

And then recently she learned the word 'vet'.
I asked her, what is a vet?
She said "vet tu doctor animal. Kakak nak jadi vet lah. Tak nak jadi teacher lah. Sebab Kakak kan suka kucing, suka rabbit, suka dogs."

I told her that last time I wanted to be a vet too but I ended up a lawyer. When she asked me how come I didn't become a vet, God I had to think how the heck do I explain to her because Mummy sucks in Mathematics and Science. LOL.

Anyway, I am writing this down so that in the future I won't forget what her ambitions are because I am pretty sure from hereon, they will keep on changing. Whatever it is, Mummy's prayers are always with you and Mummy will support you in everything you do. May you achieve your goals and dreams, may you dream big and aim high.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Amazin' Snacks To Graze On

Snacks. The types and variety is endless. And who doesn't love to snack, right? Snacks can either be healthy or unhealthy. You take the pick. 
These days, there are various websites selling healthy snacks like granola bars, fresh fruits, nuts, dried fruits and the like. One of them is Amazin' Graze. Recently they held a simple contest on their Facebook page where they were giving out 5 boxes of Amazin' Box Ramadhan Edition. All you have to do is give advice on how to stay healthy during Ramadhan. Luckily I chanced upon this contest and decided to give out a few advice.
My advice are as follows: (copied from the Facebook entry)

1. Get enough sleep so you don’t miss waking up for sahur, which is most important. This is the time for you to stock up on your energy for the day by having healthy and fulfilling meals like overnight oats with dates and raisins, fresh fruits and vegetables and eggs.
2. Drink energy-boosting drinks like Milo or Horlicks to give you a full and satisfying tummy.
3. Drink lots of plain water during sahur and break of fast, try to avoid sugary sweet drinks and caffeine as these will only dehydrate you.
4. Break fast with healthy meals as well; include lots of fruits and vegetables and soupy meals to avoid constipation. Since dates are in abundance in this holy month, have a few pieces during sahur and break of fast.
5. Do not over eat, no matter how tempting the foods may look. Always have everything in moderation.
The contest ended on 10 June 2016 and on 13 June 2016, they announce the 5 winners.


I was then contacted by their representative asking for my details to enable them to deliver the box to me.
 This morning, this pretty-looking box arrived at my office. So, what's in the Amazin' Box, you may ask?
There are four small packets of healthy snacks, all carefully packed. I received a Satay Lemongrass Nut Mix (40g), Rendang Coconut Nut Mix (40g), Pandan Skinny Cookies (50g) and Sticky Date Granola (50g).  
 There is a leaflet with a detailed description of the snacks.
I haven't tasted the snacks yet and I can't wait to try them! If you are interested to know more about Amazin' Graze and its Amazin' Box Ramadhan Edition, head on over to their Facebook page or check out their Instagram. They have plenty of other snacks too for you to choose from. So go on and snack healthily, OK?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I Did My Raya Hair

My hair needs some tlc and since Hari Raya is approaching, now is the perfect time to pay a visit to the salon for some works. So the week before Ramadhan, I purchased a coupon from Groupon for some chemical hair services at Hair Fancier Hair Salon. There are numerous deals on offer and this one particular deal by Hair Fancier caught my attention.



The package sells for RM98 and is redeemable at any one of the 6 Hair Fancier salons.


The 3-hour package includes:
  • professional scalp scan and analysis
  • chemical service either perming OR colouring
  • nanoe hair repair treatment
  • scalp defence treatment
  • cut, wash and blow (add RM20 for hair length past bra line)
  • complimentary RM100 head spa treatment voucher 
With a price tag of RM98, this deal looks and sounds pretty awesome and worth it, right? So on Thursday 2 June 2016, I actually had a dental appointment in the morning. I then applied leave for the day and fixed an appointment at Hair Fancier Encorp Mall The Strand, Kota Damansara on the same day at 2.30p.m. I have never been to Encorp Mall and I thought I'd like to check it out while I'm there. The mall is a sad and sorry white elephant with only a handful of retailers operating including Daiso, Mr. D.I.Y, Hair Fancier, Sam's Groceria, Caring Pharmacy, Kenny Roger's Roasters and a few more. I should have gone to The Curve instead. 
Anyway, I was greeted by the hairstylists and after explaining to me what the package is all about, they directed me to another area in the salon to have my scalp analyzed. They used a camera which is attached to the computer and showed me horror pictures of my scalp, which is sensitive, red on some spots and also unhealthy where the hair follicles are closed and the hair is thinning, according to them. Then they led me back to my chair and started  to apply some water on my scalp to soften it. After that, my head was steamed for a good 20 minutes or so. After that, I went back to the other room to have my scalp analyzed again to see if there are any hair mites. Yes, mites. Hair mites. They started scraping off some skin on my scalp and placed it on a microscopic dish and put it under the microscope. They did show me the tools and dishes that they were going to use to proof that the tools are clean. Then the horror began again. Apparently I have hair mites. Not many but there are about 2-3 and an ovum, which will hatch into a mite. Eek!
They started 'lecturing' me about hair mites, the causes, the effects and most importantly, how to treat it. Then that's where the story begins. They started promoting me to do a hair mite treatment because hair mites causes hair loss, which, sad to say, I'm dealing with. Even though it is not severe, if it is not treated, it may just go downhill and soon, I may have a bald spot on top of my head. It doesn't help that I like to pick and pluck my white hairs! Sigh. The cost for the hair mite treatment? RM389. And that is the cost for one treatment. Remember in the package I have a RM100 complimentary cash voucher? *scroll above please* I can use that RM100 but I have to top up another RM298. No.freaking.way. 
When I told them it's too expensive and is not in my budget, they started saying that I can't do any chemical treatment e.g. colouring because it will only make the mites active. Seriously? Don't you think those teeny tiny creatures would die of toxicity when in contact with chemical? Are you saying they are super creatures that can withstand chemical? I ain't falling for that, woman! They said if I don't want to do the treatment now, I can always come back another day. This time I was starting to feel frustrated because I took leave that day just to get my hair (and teeth earlier in the morning) done and there's no way I am taking another leave. Secondly I ain't coming back to Encorp Mall because it's like a ghost town. If I were to go to other Hair Fancier salon, I would choose Publika or The Curve. 
I put my foot down and said No, I don't want to do the hair mite treatment and I want to colour my hair today. They had no choice but to follow my instructions. So I got my hair dyed, I got the nanoe hair repair treatment, scalp defence treatment, cut (I had to add the RM20) wash and blow and by 6pm I was done. 
When it comes to paying, another story unfolds. I took out a RM20 note to pay and asked for the RM100 voucher. Out of the blue, I was asked to pay RM298. I was like, "What for?? I told you earlier I don't want to do the hair mite treatment because of the price. If I don't want to pay earlier, I won't pay now either! And What makes you think that I still want to do the hair mite treatment? I am sure there are other natural remedies I can use to treat my hair loss problem." She also refused to give me my RM100 voucher. Instead she said the next time I come, I can use it. I told her the next time I may not come to this outlet, I might as well go to Publika as it is nearer to my place. The hairstylist was quite persistent but I was even more adamant. In the end I told her "You know what, you ambik RM20 ni and you boleh simpan voucher tu. I tak nak." She looked surprised. She asked "You tak mau ka? You boleh datang nanti kalau you tak nak buat hair mite treatment you call kita cakap untuk change buat lain servis." I told her "You patut bagi I voucher tu, you kata boleh guna di mana-mana outlet. Tapi susah2 sangat, takpelah, you simpan voucher tu."
And I walked out of the salon. 
To think of it I only paid RM98 and got what I wanted, which was worth it but the reason why I chose to buy a deal from Groupon is simply to save money. I know they are just doing their job to promote their business but at the end of the day, make sure you stand firm and know what you want and know your rights. Never ever fall into their tricks to make you pay more, pay for things that you don't want. 
Anyway it is also good to know that there are tons of natural remedies to treat hair loss, which is so much cheaper and natural.
In case you are curious or interested to know more about hair mites, you can always google it. Or you can go to this website https://www.ungex.com/